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review 2019-08-19 14:38
ARC REVIEW Search and Destroy by Julie Rowe

Search and DestroyOutbreak Task Force #4, I love this series! So far all the books can be read as a standalone this book picks up right after the events of book three and even though I have read it it took me part of chapter one to reacquaint myself with the characters and the situation but then again I saw this arc up for grabs and I grabbed it didn't read the blurb or anything it was book four I had to have it so I went into this completely blind as to who the main characters were going to be. There is an overall story arc that links all the books together but each book is independent from the others. There is quite a bit of mention of the events in the last books but I don't think enough to get the reader lost.

The main characters of this one, head of the Outbreak Task Force Dr. Carmen Rodriguez and the Homeland Security liaison John Dozer. The benefit of reading the previous books is that you can tell there is something between the two of them but it never lets on to what it is, the way the acted in situations you could tell they cared about each other. Carmen was a wunderkind she finished medical school at 19 after that is when she first met John Dozer in Afghanistan. For Dozer it was instantaneous; the attraction, the respect he knew without a doubt this brilliant beautiful woman was for him but after their life and death situation she just walked away and he didn't see her again until the formation of the Outbreak Task Force.   

Due the the events of the last book Dozer is on medical leave but due to an outbreak of the measles in Florida that the terrorist group FAFO is behind he's not leaving Carmen without protection, especially since the FAFO has targeted them specifically. The FAFO is now doing more than just infecting people they have attempted to bomb one of the hospitals and and airplane causing even more widespread panic it's scary enough that this weaponized strain of the measles is spreading quickly across the US. Carmen and Dozer have a lot on their plates with the outbreak, a mole, and dodging would-be-assassins but they also manage to deal with their past and what went wrong and fall in love all over again.

Overall, this was intense. Reading this series always makes me want to rewatch Outbreak. I love the narration and the characters, intense action and drama, hot romance, seriously I love everything about this book. I can't wait until the next book because the overall story arc was left open ended for more books (fist pump) and I really hope it's Henry's book next. 


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review 2019-04-25 16:20
Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) - Sylvian Neuvel
Waking Gods - Sylvain Neuvel

I feel like I need to start this review by saying sci-fi is not my genre of choice. The vast majority of what I read is historical fiction with the occasional fantasy novel thrown in for something different. 


I read the first novel, Sleeping Giants, last August. For anyone interested in this series, I would recommend reading the two books a little closer together than I did. I ended up going to the library to check out Sleeping Giants because I had forgotten a few things. Keeping in mind that sci-fi is not my wheelhouse, I was surprised at the lack of sci-fi in the first one. Sure there was a giant robot and some big science-y words I didn't understand. Honestly, the giant robots aren't really that unbelievable and me not understanding science-y words is a fairly common occurrence. 



The second novel amped up the sci-fi. The novel follows the format of the previous one. The writer uses a series of transcripts and diary entries to take the reader through the series of events that follow the appearance of a second robot. If that style of writing/reading doesn't appeal to you, I would skip this series. 


Once the action started, I was a little concerned the writing style would take a little bit away from the plot. I was wrong. Once the action started, I didn't even notice. That second robot appeared in London (not a spoiler since it happens about two paragraphs into the book) and the book continues non-stop. 


Does this series have me convinced I should make sci-fi a regular part of my reading rotation? Not quite. Am I going to read the third book? Yup. I already have it on order from the library. However, I might end up owning the series before the library can get them from me. An internet search from my husband shows the writer has been involved in some Star Wars works. Naturally his interest is peaked and I will run the risk of never actually getting my copy when it comes from the library. 

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review 2019-01-28 15:40
ARC REVIEW Outbreak Task Force series by Julie Rowe
Viable Threat - Julie Rowe
Smoke and Mirrors - Julie Rowe Smoke and Mirrors - Julie Rowe

Viable Threat (Outbreak Task Force, #1)Outbreak Task Force #1, I was offered the opportunity to read the second book and the ARC for the third book so I took it upon myself to buy and read the first book. I really enjoyed this one not only did it take place in Texas but my home town, El Paso. This one leans more to the suspense side but the romance was really good the attraction and the chemistry between them was palpable. I was new to Julie Rowe before this point and didn't know what to expect, after this one I was excited to read the next two. It was kind of like reading Outbreak (you know the 1995 movie) but with more explosions and a little more heavier on the romance. It was very fast-paced, very intense with great characters.

Sergeant Walter River, Special Forces combat medic, gets called in to help the CDC in medical emergency, when he arrives at one of the hospitals in El Paso he discovers chaos. A microorganism has been released and is spreading, River's job is to assist microbiologist Dr. Ava Lloyd in tracking down the source and help contain the spread of the outbreak before it spread outside the busy border town.

Overall, I loved this book. The only thing that kind of disappointed me was the lack of description when it came to the setting. It had very generic descriptions and it could have taken place anywhere nothing really stood out and said, "This is El Paso". But it's my hometown I'm gonna be picky.


Smoke and Mirrors (Outbreak Task Force, #2)Outbreak Task Force #2, Another great book. In this one the romance plays a more prodomainte part. The outbreak isn't in full force yet and the characters have sometime to build up their relationship before all hell breaks loose. Sergeant Lyle Smoke was just discharged from the Army, his buddy and fellow former Special Forces soldier offer him a job with the joint task force between Homeland Security and the CDC, the Outbreak Task Force, but before Smoke makes any decisions he needs to go home first. When he gets home he doesn't find a peaceful rest he finds a CDC nurse in need of help.

Kini Kerek was just supposed to do some field research for the CDC before they decide what to do, if the natural antibodies of the Hantavirus are capable of containing itself or if the CDC needs to step in a create a cure. But Kini is met with open hostility and rumors spreading that she's conducting experiments, death threats keyed into her car and physical attacks have her bosses send someone to help luckily he already calls the place home and with Smoke's knowledge of the area and the people it should make things easier. Until the Hantavirus starts affecting more and more people the next thing they know it's a full blown outbreak and the rest of the Task force is called in. But it's a little too convenient that this outbreak happened right when Kini showed up and now Kini and Smoke need to find out why before it's too late.

Overall, a great read. Fantastic writing and and ending I wasn't expecting. A little more descriptive setting than the last book and it really helped paint a nice picture when they were in the desert. The romance between Smoke and Kini was really nice, I loved that it was practically instantaneous Smoke had some emotional baggage but Kini was able to help him work through it and it was a real nice HEA.

Sleight of HandOutbreak Task Force #3, The newest of the series and it is outstanding! Going from CDC home base in Atlanta and to New Orleans and back again this action packed romance is a great read. Former Doctor Without Borders doctor Gunner Anderson does not suffer fools gladly, and because of that he's already gone through 3 partners. This is his last chance to prove he can work with someone so his boss partners him up with the woman he's had a crush on since they met CDC nurse, former combat medic, Joy Oshiro.

For Joy it was hard not to notice Gunner, just around the office she noticed his surly attitude got slightly better after coffee and something to eat, usually anything pumpkin flavored so going into this partnership she used this knowledge to her advantage; her take no shit straightforward attitude helped too. Their first case together ends up quite a doozy, a frat house full of sick kids and one dead. Soon another house full of sick kids and more dead and another that only connection the keg. With the CDC stretched thin with a number of other outbreaks around the globe Joy and Gunner are left to track down and stop this outbreak before it gets any further but just when they think they have it figured out it gets much worse.

Overall, a great read. Joy and Gunner have to deal with not just the outbreak but for their feelings for each other and working together. They each have emotional baggage to deal with and they are both very aware what hurting the other will do and Joy especially has to realize it's worth the risk of loving each other. There is a continuing story arc in the series but each book can be read as a stand alone.     


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review 2018-12-27 22:58
24 Festive Tasks: Door 18 - Winter Solstice / Yuletide, Task 2 (Neverending Book)
Murder at the Old Vicarage: A Christmas Mystery - Jill McGown

I'm going with the book I read yesterday for this: Mind you, this is by no means a bad book (I gave it 3 1/2 stars); the characters are well-developed, the story gets going fairly quickly, and while it does, it's an engaging read -- even if I didn't like all the characters I was supposed to like quite as much as the author probably hoped.  Also, if you haven't made up your mind early on about the "who" (and the probable "why"), and if you like an author twisting your tail round and round until you get to the solution, you'll certainly get your fill here.  Alas, the latter wasn't true for me in this instance, though; and as a result, from a certain point onwards the story's twists and turns felt a bit like the manipulations of one of those "three caps and a pea" shell game operators, but one where you've twigged the main sleight of hand early on and are just half-heartedly following the motions and waiting for the big reveal.  As a result, the final 100 or so pages of the book took me about twice as long as they would have if I had still been fully engaged at that point -- and in a 230 page book, that equates to almost half the contents.


Side note: While PanMacmillan's (and it always seems to be them) insistence on republishing mysteries set during or even only in the vicinity of Christmas with a new title (and matching cover) shouting "Christmas mystery", "cozy", and "Golden Age tradition" is seriously getting on my nerves at this point, here they've actually hit the bull's eye in a sense -- which will become clear very fast to any reader who's also read the book after which this mystery's title is obviously fashioned, and to which it pays hommage to a certain extent; i.e., Agatha Christie's first Miss Marple mystery.  Unfortunately, the new title indirectly also shines a light on precisely those clues and constructive elements of the book that, to me, made it clear fairly early on where we were headed ... and of course now I'll never know whether, if I had read the book under its original title (Redemption), those clues would have stood out to me quite as much as they actually did.

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review 2017-11-06 17:20
The Cosy Christmas Teashop - Caroline Roberts

Squints real hard.


So this is not going to be pretty.


Look away, look away.

This book was awful. Let's ignore the typos galore, the freaking continuity errors, the lack of dialogue that was happening. This was barely a Christmas book. At this time of the year, I freaking crave Christmas romance books. I can't help it. It gets me in the holiday mood. I love to decorate, put on some carols, drink some alcoholic eggnog and just relax. Reading this book at 11 p.m. and finishing it up around 3 a.m. just made me angry. Angry because this could have been a nice slam dunk and a great second book. Instead I wonder if this was even edited by someone based on the typos I saw and highlighted on my Kindle. That was the only thing keeping me awake at that point.


"The Cosy Christmas Teashop" takes place three years after the events in book #1. Ellie and Joe are happily married and running the castle and teashop respectively. 


Now that Ellie and Joe are settled, they are dealing with having the castle open up to host weddings as well as there regular tours/teashop hours. Ellie and Joe are also now trying to have a baby now that they are bit older. 

Unlike with the first book, there is no back and forth between Ellie and Joe. The main character is Ellie. And at times though she is only 31, she sounds like a woman twice her age. We barely get any dialogue in this one, and when we do, Ellie sounds like a stereotypical character from a British soap. She calls another woman her same age "pet" one time. She sounds matronly and old though is near times most of the story.


And I hope you like reading about Joe's penis. Cause it's referenced a lot. There are no hot sex scenes like we had in book #1, we just read a lot about how much Joe/Ellie like to have sex or really Joe likes to have sex. Wait, there may have been a sex scene, but I have blocked it out. Yes, I think I remember one. The other one was just terrible with the author talking about how they danced on each other's bodies and I don't know. What the hell does that even mean?


Ellie barely speaks to anyone and vice versa. It drove me up the wall in the end. I don't even get why she and Joe are even together since they seem to have zero things in common. I love romance series cause you get to see the same couples over and over again and you get why they are together. In this one I was perplexed since they seemed like two strangers who enjoyed having sex with each other. 


There is no development with any other characters either. I think it's weird that Ellie's best friend from back home is referenced, but never talked to. We do get a scene with Ellie talking to her dead grandmother though. So there's that. 


Image result for stares real hard gif


There are continuity errors galore in this which drove me up the wall. Ellie's brother was only 17 in book 1, it's been three years since they got married or five years since the first book, which would make him 21 or 22 depending. Roberts has him at 26. I wanted to scream about that. Especially since in book #1 it is mentioned that Ellie is 9 years older than her brother. 


There are also typos all over. I hope you like reading "Jo-oe" "o-kay" and "Mr and Mrs" with no periods anywhere. There was also I think a couple of times extra "s" in certain words and I refuse to go look that mess up. The funniest/saddest one was Ellie saying Lord H when referencing Lord Henry that is never used again. I assume they forgot to spell out the rest of his name. 


The book is also repetitive to the point that I think that it could have easily lost 20-30 pages if things had been cut out. We get that things are okay between Joe's mother and Lord Henry even though there was initial awkwardness. I get that Ellie is going to make some lemon drizzle cake. I know that the rooms that Ellie and Joe live in need to be overhauled. Repeating it more than once was not necessary.

If Roberts wanted to make more an impression there should have been more of a Christmas element to the book. At the end of the book we get some of that (it snows), but other than that, there is no description of the decorations or people in any great detail. You would think that most of the book is just the same 8 or 9 characters mentioned over and over again. And honestly, I was expecting some recipes to appear in this one. It would have made the book better if we had some of Ellie's grandmother's recipes. 


 Task 9- Tasks for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night: Read a book in one night - in the S. Hemisphere, read a book in a day. –OR–Grab one of your thickest books off the shelf.  Ask a question and then turn to page 40 and read the 9th line of text on that page.  Post your results.  –OR–Eat a watermelon or pomegranate for good luck and health in the coming year, but post a pic first!


Bonus task:  Read a book in one night.


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